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September 8, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

Sorry, just finished recording today's podcast. I'll post the link here when it's up.

blowhard (newsroom, USA)

Did you know HUMANS drive in runs. They matter, but people that have never been in a dugout dont understand that.

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

All humans, or just special ones?

DH (Pittsburgh)

Yelich > Marisnick > Rymer Liriano?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

I'm good with that right now.

Steve (NYC)

Least exciting September ever? At least if there were no Wild Card, NYY and Boston would be interesting. Knowing that one will be in the playoffs no matter what makes things pretty boring.

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

Yep, I can't remember the last one with this little drama. Much more interested in the performances/looks down the stretch from some rookies or young players than I am in any team performances.

Tom (Chi)

Why wouldnt the Cubs bring up Brett Jackson for at least a quick look see??

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

I haven't heard their reasoning, but they may not have wanted to open up the 40-man spot, and I have to imagine they're concerned about his strikeout rate in AAA.

Zach W. (St. Pete, FL)

Which stat is the more meaningless? RBI batters or Wins for pitchers?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

Pitcher wins are worse.

Pierce (Tulsa, OK)

Does Ryan Jackson of the Cardinals have a chance at becoming a 2-3 WAR player?

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

I don't think so - his defense would have to be absolutely incredible for that, and even though I think he's a plus glove I wouldn't put that kind of grade on him.

Casey (Hawaii)

Has Sonny Gray proven to you that he is a for sure starter yet? He has looked purty good in AA.

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

I like Gray, and I think there's a good chance he can start, but he hasn't faced more than 18 batters in any outing in AA, so I'm not sure how that's supposed to be evidence of anything.

Ryan (VA)

Klaw, it is so reckless for the Nats to call up Strasburg and risk his arm in meaningless September games. He should be kept in the minors, where arm injuries don't occur.

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

I actually thought this was serious until the final clause. Nicely done.

James (Philly)

A lot of writers seem to have penciled in Kimbrals name already for ROY. Any chance Vance Worley can convince them to erase that and put his name at the top?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

I believe Kimbrel has already won the narrative.

Clay (Charlotte)

Cause it's gonna come up, thoughts on Strasmas?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

Looked good. All three pitches were there. Didn't command the fastball well, which is completely normal for a guy 53 weeks out from surgery. Thought he could have gone another inning - no signs of fatigue in the 5th.

Chris ((Portland))

Bautista had a massive advantage at the ASB, but Ellsbury has now passed him in WAR. Does this change your opinion on AL MVP, or should we be skeptical about the UZR difference?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

I think they're basically even now, right? 0.1 difference is a rounding error. Depends on how seriously you want to take Ellsbury's high defensive rating - I should clarify that this is Fangraphs' WAR - and whether Bautista's defensive rating is unfair to a guy who's played two positions.

Steve (Brooklyn)

Seems like the Nats have a wealth of 3/4/5 starters in the high minors right now. How would you rank Peacock/Meyers/Rosenbaum/Millone? Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

I don't think any of those guys is as much as a 3.

Colin (Longmeadow, MA)

Out of Oscar Taveras, Miguel Sano, and Eddie Rosario, who do you like best long-term offensively?

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

Sano has the most upside. I do need to see Taveras next month, though.

matt (kc)

I'm sick of hearing about Trumbo for AL ROY. Should he even be discussed as a top 5 candidate?

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

No. Anyone who touts him for ROY is telling you implicitly that they don't understand that hitters making outs is bad.

William (Chicago)

Are you the one that hates Matt Szczur?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Never met him. Seems like an admirable guy, though.

Sage (Chicago)

What do i do with the wine stock left over from braised short ribs?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Reduce it for the sauce.

Shoshana (Boston)

What is Bobby Bundy's upside? Is he a top 100 prospect for you?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Haven't seen him, but reports are more like a fourth starter, not a top 100 candidate.

Josh (Toronto)

Is Alvarez performing better than you expected given the lack of a true breaking ball right now? If he doesn't top 50 IP, will he be in your top 50 next year?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

He was in my midseason top 50, so yes. But unless they shut him down, he'll hit 50 innings and be DQ'd.

Paul (Tucson, AZ)

How bad do you expect Ryan Jackson's bat to be? A full-time plus defender at short is practically at 2 WAR before he steps to the plate. Andrus, for instance, got to 2.3 WAR last year with a 79 wRC+, 0.1 UZR, and 8.2 Bsr. Granted, that last number is incredible, but shift some value from baserunning to defense and you can see you don't have to do much with the stick to get to the 2-3 WAR range as a quality SS.

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

Therefore, you may (correctly) infer that I expect his bat to be really bad.

Tim (SF)

Hi Keith, I enjoy reading your chats. I have 2 Q. 1) Do you think Brett Pill can be an above-average 1B for the Giants next year or is he better to be a platoon player. 2) And are you concerned that Brandon Belt is striking out just to much with inside pitches. Do you still rate him as a potential star. Thank You

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

1. No. Platoon guy, maybe. Full-time, no. 2. Looks like his two-strike approach overall needs work.

Steve (Brooklyn)

Off the top of your head, how many 2011 draftees crack your top 100? Ten or more?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

I believe it's always been at least ten. Should be the most ever this year, though - pretty sure I answered this a few weeks ago and speculated we might reach 20 on the top 100 for the first time.

Jason (St Louis)

Do you know what happened with Chuck Lamar? Would he be a good candidate for the Cubs?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

Industry speculation is that he was either going to be fired or demoted and chose to resign instead. I'd hire Chuck in a minute if I were a current GM, but would not hire him to be a GM. His track record as GM in Tampa was terrible. But he's a really good baseball guy, and a good evaluator, who'd be a huge asset in a front office.

Josh (Toronto)

Thanks. Saw Alvarez in the top 50, but wasn't sure if any other guys had made leaps or how many draftees would bump him.

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Don't know if any top 50 guys will drop out for reasons other than too much major league playing time. We've already lost Jennings and are 19 AB away from losing Lawrie.

Jon (DC)

Is a walk as good as a hit? It seems not, but you tell me? Also, if its not, does that mean anything about the value of OBP v. Average to you? Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

It's not as good as a hit, but it's pretty close. OBP is the much more useful rate stat.

Matt (DC)

Would you at least say AJ Cole has #3 upside?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Yes, at least, probably more.

Dirk (Boston)

Is Cameron Maybin overachieving, or just finally figuring it out?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

I think he's figuring it out.

Bentow (New York, NY)

Early reports on Noah Syndergaard in short season ball have him touching 97 in his starts, a big uptick from what was written in his pre-draft scouting reports (89-92 mph). With this improvement, is he a potential #1 starter or more of a 2?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

He was actually hitting 97 his last 2-3 starts as an amateur, so this isn't any change. I'd take it easy on throwing around the #1 starter tag.

Ken (Philly)

Not to be a homer but I see the NL Cy Young going to Cliff Lee (with Kershaw and Halladay right behimd him)...your thoughts?...

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

I have the NL Cy ballot, and can't comment on the race.

AC (Dirty Jerz)

Tim K at ESPN said he doesn't think there's "any way" Bautista will win MVP. Oh, and I'm sorry for watching Mike and Mike, it is terrible.

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Tim may be right - I don't have a feel for the pulse of the voters on that one, and it sounds like he was offering a prediction on the award. Would you be surprised if Bautista lost to a player on a playoff team? I wouldn't.

Jerry (Texas)

Have you heard anything about Angel Villalona coming back to the Giants minor leagues now after charges have been dropped?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

I think it was Andy Baggarly who wrote (in effect) that they're taking him back to avoid a breach of contract lawsuit. I wouldn't say I'm optimistic about his future, though - he was a deeply flawed prospect at the time of his arrest and has now missed two years of reps.

Jason (St Louis)

Could you please explain to the masses that there are very few pitchers that could be called a #1, or even a potential #1? It seems like that tag gets tossed around a little too casually by the average fan.

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

I'd say on average there are only going to be 15-20 true #1 starters in the big leagues at any given time. You always have a few teams looking for a

Aaron ( Az)

How does jarrod parker look coming back from his tommy john

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Velo came back right away but it sounds like the the addition of a two-seam fastball has made a huge difference for him. He gave up three home runs in a start on May 20th and didn't give up another the rest of the summer, a span of 117+ innings.

Dan (LA)

Is this extended major league look for Trout a determining factor in his playing in the AFL? Really looking forward to seeing a Trout/Harper led Scorpions team on my birthday.

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

I'm betting Trout never sniffs the AFL this year. Too much major league time, too long of a year for him.

chris (nyc)

Kyle Parker had a nice season in Asheville. You think he has enough plate discipline to be starting outfielder?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

I'm not a big believer. Not enough patience or bat speed, and I don't think he'll be a good enough defender in left. (Would be fine at first.) Remember he went from the ACC to the Sally League, when most players from good college conferences go a level higher than that.

Chris (South Pasadena, CA)

Maximum Snark Intent (M.X.S.I.) - Will Moneyball the movie have the same impact as Moneyball the book?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

No. That ship (in terms of its impact) sailed already.

Joe Random (Parts Unknown)

will you be doing a review of the Wire's first season on the dish?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Yes, because so many readers have asked for it.

Jeff (Ann Arbor)

You've mentioned a couple of times that you'll be voting for the NL Cy Young this year. How is it determined for which award you will vote?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

I apologize for mentioning it so often, but I get a lot of questions about the race and don't want to just blow them off. Ballots are assigned by the BBWAA secretary.

Joey (West Palm Beach)

Is it me, or did the Moneyball preview look really dull? Haven't read the book - how do they make a cinematic ending to a story that doesn't end in a WS championship?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I'm seeing a preview next week so I'll let you know.

JM (Stuttgart)

You said the Reds blew it on trading Alonso, didn't they also blow it on Hernandez and aquiring anyone of impact in the last 2 years? And they are also pretty close to point of no return for converting Chapman to a SP. They seem to be missing on all the tough decisions.

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

I would put a lot of this year's disappointing results on Baker, but some on the FO too. Seems like they have had the assets to put together a more competitive roster, but haven't converted those assets like they should have. Totally agree on Chapman, BTW.

Josh (Toronto)

Just a heads up, the podcast is up:http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=6943900

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

Thanks. Long links sometimes break in the chat so here's a shortened version: http://klaw.me/o6GA0O

Jeff (Chicago)

Klaw, you are given the opportunity to become GM to the team of your choice. Which team do you pick and why? Boston / NYY for the $ advantage, KC for the stocked farm system, Pittsburgh for the "small market" challenge, etc.

Pierce (Tulsa, OK)

Who are the top 3 players you're most looking forward to seeing in the AFL?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

Aaron Hicks, Robbie Grossman, Oscar Taveras, Matt Adams, Nick Franklin, Jed Bradley, Anthony Gose... It's a long list, really.

Pierce (Tulsa, OK)

Is watching a game or 2 in the AFL worth a plane ticket?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

I think so. AFL scouting was a big appeal for me in deciding whether to move out here.

Jeff (SD)

Are your prospect rankings all ceiling? Where do you include likelihood to reach that ceiling?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Not all ceiling, but heavily weighted toward ceiling.

Charles (San Jose)

Looks like the software ate up your answer to Jeff from Chicago.

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Indeed. I'd go for the challenge. The idea of building an organization back up from the ground is much more appealing to me, at least right now, than the idea of walking into a situation that's almost finished.

Bret (Toronto)

Since you brought up Anthony Gose, the thought on him from what I've read in most places (though not so much from you) is that if he can hit better, he'd be a stud prospect and have a chance to reach his upside. From what you've heard, how big of an "if" is that? How poor is his hitting today? Do prospects often figure it out?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

I've seen Gose and always questioned the hit tool, but he can fly and has developed into a plus defender. So I think what you've heard or read on him is pretty accurate. I'm not sure how to quantify how often prospects like Gose figure it out - I think less often than fans want to believe, but probably more often than my natural skepticism on players like this would allow.

brian (brooklyn)

Someone aksed Kevin Goldstein this question in a BP hcat and i thought it was interesting - if a complete stranger at a dinner party asks you what you do for a living, how do you respond?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Depends on what she looks like.

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

I'm kidding. I usually just say "sportswriter" unless I'm really trying to avoid a conversation.

Jon (DC)

Ok Klaw, I assumed the answer to that question would have been, "whichever team pays me the most." If its really not, then don't you have to admit that sometimes players may take less money to sign with certain teams, for whatever reason?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

I'm not part of a union that is encouraging me to take top dollar, nor is anyone else depending on me to push the ceiling for salaries up. Plus I'm pretty comfortable arguing that I have an unusual utility curve when it comes to job satisfaction.

Phil (Baltimore)

Speaking of "building an organization from the bottom", what would you do in Baltimore? I know you would first examine why all the pitching gets hurt, but what else?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Their international presence has been pretty limited outside of Aruba/Curacao; I don't know if that's a small department, budgetary concerns, or something else, but I'd make that a pretty early focus too.

Derek (Work)

Klaw, which would you trust more: UZR or a respected scouts eye in determining who plays well on defense?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Can I go with both? I feel much better about a player when I have both, whether it's my own eyes or those of a scout I trust.

Justin (San Diego)

Didn't Weaver and Lee take less to sign just in the past year?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Lee didn't - he took the highest per-year salary offered. Weaver may have taken less, but since he never reached the market it's speculative.

Jason (St Louis)

I know how you feel about RBIs and pitcher wins but if there is any stat that makes me want to scream when someone brings it up, it's fielding percentage. Agreed?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

Yep, but I don't hear that one offered up very often these days.

Tony T (Chicago)

Aren't scouts generally dumb though?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

Just because Michael Lewis told you that doesn't make it true.

James (Detroit)

I know you have issues with Castellanos glove, but can you give me your thoughts on his hitting potential?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

I have never seen Castellanos (we're talking Nick, I assume) struggle in the field. I got a report from a good scout that absolutely murdered him, especially his arm, and I passed that along. I saw Castellanos a lot as an amateur and thought he had no shot to stay at short but was athletic enough that third was an option. I think he'll hit, get on base, and hit for power.

Dan (DC)

Klaw, what are your thoughts on Billy Hamilton's season and what sort of player can he become? Will he stay at SS? Thanks!

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

The 100 steals are great, but he needs to get a good bit stronger and it's sounding more and more likely that he ends up at second base.

Lance U (Boston)

Top pick in next years draft. Any speculation?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Best bet now is Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford. My dark horse is Byron Buxton, Appling County HS in Georgia, five-tool guy who gets tool and physical comparisons to BJ Upton.

Bill (Toronto)

Michael Lewis didn't even say scouts were dumb. The point was that they knew how to evaluate talent, but the game was behind the times in determining which talents were meaningful.

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

You didn't find the whole Fat Scout and Old Scout thing to be, at best, patronizing toward scouts? Like, you're so irrelevant I'm not even going to give your names.

Ryan (NJ)

Montero - early impressions? Hitting outside pitches the other way and driving them has impressed me the most

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Tiny sample, but so far so good. Solid at bats, using the whole field as you said.

Max (Detroit)

Klaw, why isn't anyone taking the Tigers seriously! They are the hottest team in baseball, hitting and pitching furiously! Do you think they have a chance at showing up the Phillies in the series?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

I think they are, on paper, the worst of the four current AL playoff teams, by stats or by scouting evaluation.

Jim (Akron)

If Harper somehow starts the year with the Nats, who's your early pick for #1 prospect next year?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

Bubba Starling or Dylan Bundy - thinking of some top HS player from this year's draft who won't be in or about to reach the majors at that point.

Jake (Toronto)

How would Gose compare to Ellsbury or Crawford at similar stage of career? And is Lawrie's walk rate a concern or can he still be a high OPS middle order bat next year?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

At Gose's age, Crawford was in the big leagues and was more advanced as a hitter, while Ellsbury was in college and I don't think anyone projected him to be more than a high-average/low-power guy. (Including me.) Not worried about Lawrie's approach. Small sample, first time in the majors, and I think it's fair to call him "aggressive."

Mike (Oakland)

What are your thoughts on Erik Surcamp? Can he be in the Giants rotation next season as the fifth starter?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Maybe. Pretty fringy fastball, although AT&T Park is probably a good place for him.

Pierce (Tulsa, OK)

Coming from somebody who doesn't take short-season stats seriously in predicting the future potential of a player, have you heard anything about Tyler Rahmatulla?

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Saw him this spring, multiple games, got him as an org player. He's 21 in the Appy League - way too old for that level.

Justin (San Diego)

Has your opinion of Casey Kelly changed at all this year? The stuff just never seems to add up to production.

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Yes, opinion is dropping quickly.

Lisa (Tucson)

Do you have an explanation for why Derek Jeter has been so much better as a hitter this year since July?

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Just random variation. Put it this way: If you believe that Jeter just needed to get the 3000th hit out of the way and is better now that it's behind him, you are saying that he wilted under the pressure of pursuing an individual milestone - the clear antithesis of "clutch." So I'll stick with calling it a fluke, thanks.

SportsHui (Seattle, WA)

Do you recommend buying the 1910 Expansion for Ticket to Ride? I can't believe how Altuve sized those cards are in the box.

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Yes, absolutely.

Steve (Brooklyn)

You come to NYC for one night - where are you going for dinner?

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

Some place I've never been before. Maybe Momofuku.

Matt (Minnesota)

Detroit can beat anyone in the AL Playoffs - a dominant #1 starter, super closers in bullpen, Miggy, V-Mart, Avila, Young as dominant a 3-6 hitting quartet as there is in the league. Nobody wants to play this team.

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

Anyone can beat anyone in the playoffs. But I'm pretty sure, for one example, the Yankees can offer a dominant #1 starter, a "super closer," and a pretty good heart of the lineup too.

Dan (Cleveland)

Should Nick Hagadone be converted back to a starter or is he a better fit for the bullpen?

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

Bullpen.

Nate (KCMO)

Just to get your exact thoughts on the matter, what if any RP's other than Rivera do you think belong in the HOF? (Including the ones already there - I have a hard time with any other than Eck and Mo).

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

Gossage, Eck, eventually Mo, of relievers since the mid-70s. That would probably be it for me.

Mike (Long Island)

Not sure what you mean by "calling it a fluke" regarding Jeter's recent performance -- that it's a fluke that he has done so well or that he did so poorly earlier.

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

All of it. There's a desire to ascribe meaning to the results that in this case is not warranted, in my opinion.

Brian G (Santa Barbara)

Won my city league co-ed softball league last night. First thought was, "I wonder if Klaw would give me a 60 speed." Second thought involved BBQ wings.

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

Wrong. First thought should have been, "Beer."

Charles (San Jose)

Josh Collmenter has continued to perform well facing teams for a second and third time. Is this year a fluke, or is he really a #3 going forward?

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

Fluke.

chauncey (teaneck)

so no love for lee smith?

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

No.

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

Well, not for the Hall of Fame. I hear he's a great guy.

Dirk (Boston)

Thoughts on other Hiyao Miyazaki movies? Porco Rosso might be his best, yet no one has seen it.

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

I've seen almost all of them. Spirited Away is amazing.

Paul (Albany, OR)

You would not include Hoffman in the HOF? How come?

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

Why would I? Seriously. Throw out saves, a stupid context-dependent stat, and make the case for a guy who threw under 1100 innings, much of it in pitchers' parks, and ended up with an ERA that is more than half a run higher than Rivera's.

Dave (NJ)

No Sutter in HOF?

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

No. One of the worst BBWAA selections ever.

Phil (CT)

I find the "no one wants to play this team" argument hilarious. In the NL it seems like no one wants to play Milwaukee. No one wants to play Atlanta. No one wants to play Arizona. So everyone wants to play the Phillies?

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

Exactly. The marginal difference between facing one playoff team versus another in a five- or seven-game series is pretty small.

"Lucky" Ned Pepper (Fort Smith, AK)

What about John Smoltz? He doesn't get in based purely on his record as a starter, I don't think, so doesn't he need those years in RP to push him over the top?

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

I would vote for him but expect him to be in before I have a ballot.

Mike (VA)

Best pumpkin beer? The new Shock Top Pupkin thing was not that great.

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

I like pumpkin. I like beer. I don't like them together.

Jason (St Louis)

I think Jim Rice was the worst bbwaa selection ever.

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

Tony Perez is in that discussion too.

Dan (Idaho Falls)

Since we've discussed almost every other Nationals' SP prospect (sans Josh Smoker) - how would you project Sammy Solis' future in the bigs: #3 SP, back-end bullpen guy, swing man? Thanks.

Klaw
  (2:18 PM)

I'll go with #4 starter.

Keith (Law)

Do you drink to get drunk?

Klaw
  (2:18 PM)

No, but I have such a low tolerance that I can't drive after a second drink.

Everett (Toronto)

What's a realistic assessment of McGowan's first appearance in 2+ years? Is it okay for me to hope he's a go for next season, in some capacity?

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

Yes. But I'm having a hard time believing he could hold up for a full year as a starter.

Justin (Redlands, CA)

Any thoughts on Jerome Williams? His stuff has actually looked pretty good.

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

It has, much to my surprise. I don't know what to make of him. He's made three starts, two against Seattle, one Baltimore, which ain't exactly the stern test we're looking for.

Paul (NJ)

Keith, do you project Addison Reed as a starter or as a reliever long term?

Klaw
  (2:21 PM)

Reliever. Stuff ticked up big time in the pen. 96-99.

Jason (St Louis)

Are you avoiding Nyjer Morgan questions? I'm surprised I haven't seen any posted.

Klaw
  (2:22 PM)

By avoiding, you mean I don't care, right? Then yes, I'm avoiding them.

Utopia (FL)

I plan on applying to Harvard? Is it hard?

Klaw
  (2:22 PM)

Applying is easy. Getting in is hard. Staying in is easy, though.

wickethewok (Cleveland, OH)

Why hasn't Count Von Rosenberg been developing as expected? His ERA seems out of line with his peripherals. Is there something about his repertoire that makes him homer-prone?

Klaw
  (2:22 PM)

Straight, very average fastball.

SportsHui (Seattle, WA)

Is the Cardinals refusal to call up Matt Adams an admission that he's not ready to replace Pujols in the majors next year? With the Cardinals out of the race, wouldn't this be the perfect time for him to get some ABs against top level competition? Or does logic like that not work with in Tony's World.

Klaw
  (2:23 PM)

And play him where? Besides, I wouldn't rush a guy who needs work on plate discipline. AFL is a good move for him. Cardinals generally do send a good contingent out here - shows they see the value in the league.

Chris (Boston)

I know you can't comment on your vote, but is it hard to separate your personal opinion on Roy Halladay from your time in Toronto when you have a ballot for an award that he's a strong contender for?

Klaw
  (2:24 PM)

No, pretty easy to keep those separate.

Kirk (The TC)

Is Joe Benson good enough now to be able to step into RF if/when the Twins lose Cuddyer and Kubel to free agency? Or will he make Ben Revere look good?

Klaw
  (2:24 PM)

Saw Benson a good bit last year - all the tools he needs to be an above-average regular, poor recognition of breaking stuff makes me think he won't (or isn't that likely) to get there.

Joey (West Palm Beach)

What ever happened/is happening with the Yankee's switch pitcher? Is there any chance his stuff could translate to the big leagues?

Klaw
  (2:25 PM)

Not a guy, sorry. Org player.

Bob (Queens)

Can Johnny Hellweg be a legit # 2 or 3 starter in the big?

Klaw
  (2:25 PM)

Still has some work to do on command and control, but that's an 80 fastball, so yes, #2 or better.

Cale (Michigan)

What is the hardest skill to scout at the high school level?

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

For hitters, plate discipline/pitch recognition. For pitchers, command, especially of offspeed.

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

I'm ignoring stuff like makeup, which is a scout's job but isn't evaluated just on the field.

Jason (Birmingham MI)

Keith, do you read many baseball books?

Klaw
  (2:27 PM)

Very few. I read mostly fiction, but mostly stay away from baseball books because then my work is bleeding into my leisure time.

Joey (oakland)

Gio Gonzalez has been pretty bad the last few months-- especially on the road. I think it's time to trade him; can he bring in a bat with Lawrie like potential?

Klaw
  (2:30 PM)

I'm not a big Gio fan - I think that park and defense have really masked his deficiencies - but even setting that aside, I don't think you deal him now when his value is low, nor do I think you could get Lawrie for him.

DaveW (Toronto)

I'm getting married next spring. Hoping to do a Spring training stag. Arizona or Florida? (metrics: ballparks, food, microbrews, humidity)

Klaw
  (2:31 PM)

Ballparks: Arizona. Food: Arizona. Microbrews: Arizona. Humidity: Arizona. Distance between ballparks: Arizona. Not-florida-ness: Arizona. You make the call!

Christopher (Staten Island)

Hi Keith, if you had to recommend one noir detective book which one would it be?

Klaw
  (2:32 PM)

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett.

JC (Winnipeg)

Has Drew Hutchison emerged as the Jays' top pitching prospect?

Klaw
  (2:32 PM)

Are you taking Alvarez out of the question? Then yes.

Adam (Chicago) [via mobile]

Hi Keith- What are your thoughts on the Cubs extending Oneri Flieta and most likely Tim Wilkin before hiring a new GM. Both are in high profile positions that usually a new guy would want to hire from his own network. What I'm getting at is will either of these moves make the Cubs job less desirable for any candidate?

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

I have nothing against either guy - I worked with Tim, I know Oneri, I respect both as people and as baseball minds - but I did find it very odd to see them extended before the GM hire. I'd certainly want the option to bring in my own guys if I were taking that job. I might have kept one or both anyway, but the choice has been taken away from the incoming boss.

Pigskin (NFL)

Casual follower of the NFL or no interest?

Klaw
  (2:34 PM)

I watched one game last year, the Super Bowl, primarily so I could snark about it on Twitter and ignore all the packing I was supposed to be doing (we moved about two weeks after it).

JC (Winnipeg)

I was, and Drabek too. Top position player then: Marisnick vs d'Arnaud?...

Klaw
  (2:35 PM)

d'Arnaud.

The Wire (Baltimore)

When you walk through the gaaarden... you gotta watch your back.

Klaw
  (2:37 PM)

Well, I beg your pardon, but this chat just jumped the track. I'll be back again next Thursday. Thanks for the all the questions.